National Infrastructure Commission to oversee £100bn spending programme

30 Oct 15

George Osborne committed to spending £100bn on infrastructure by 2020 as he launched of the National Infrastructure Commission today, with the programme to be partly funded by state asset sales.

At the launch in York today, the chancellor said the commission, to be led by former Labour cabinet minister Lord Andrew Adonis, would ‘get Britain building’. More details on would be set out in next month’s Spending Review.

The National Infrastructure Commission is charged with producing a report at the start of each five-year Parliament, offering recommendations for priority infrastructure projects.

Its initial focus will be in three key areas: connectivity in the north of England, London’s transport system and energy.

In addition to Adonis, seven commissioners were named including Sir John Armitt, who undertook an infrastructure review in the last parliament for the Labour party, former Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, former Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee member Professor Tim Besley, and economist Bridget Rosewell.

Demis Hassabis, an artificial intelligence researcher, has also been appointed, as has architect Sadie Morgan and businessman Sir Paul Ruddock.

Osborne confirmed that the £100bn would include full funding for a £15bn Roads Investment Strategy. The Spending Review would also identify state assets that can be sold he said, in addition to disposals since 2010, which include the Royal Mail and the cross-channel Eurostar rail service.

“British people have to spend longer than they should getting to work, pay more than they should in energy bills and can’t buy the houses they want because of the failure of successive governments to think long term,” Osborne said.

“Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept – it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in. That’s why I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.”

The £100bn commitment to the end of the decade would help the country think long term about its capital needs, and he called for a cross-party consensus on development.

“I am delighted Andrew Adonis and this world-class group of experts have agreed to come together on the National Infrastructure Commission to help us do that,” he added.

Adonis added that, if the country is to build high-quality infrastructure, there was a need for both long-term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus.

“That is what the National Infrastructure Commission is here to promote,” he concluded.

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